I had been discharged from the 6th British hospital in Ghent, Belgium, as â€œfit for service.â€ Iâ€™d then joined the Seaforth Highlanders in Holland.
Soon after, the war ended and our unit entered Amsterdam to ringing cheers of the populous.
A few weeks later, Freddy Bower and I, rather the worse for wear after overindulging in Bolls Gin, saw an unattended jeep.
â€œWhy walk when we can drive?â€ suggested Freddy.
Minutes later, we sped along a road skirting the Grand Canal.
A rather grand-looking building bright as a Christmas tree, with music blaring into the night sky, brought us to a halt. Canadian soldiers were welcomed anywhere, weâ€™d found, so why not here?
We found ourselves in a kitchen that contained a wooden barrel of beer. A great thing to take to our comrades, we thought.
Freddy and I rolled it onto the floor, and I still recall large be-medaled men with gold braid, moving threateningly towards us.
Thankfully, another man with even more braid commanded them to stop. He laughed at us as we pushed the barrel toward the exit before heaving it into the jeep.
Waking with a roaring hang-over the next day, we heard the disturbing news. Two culprits from our unit had stolen a jeep, then crashed the coming-home party for Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, swiped a barrel of beer, and as a closing act, had missed a bridge and submerged the jeep in the canal.
We agreed what a terrible thing it was to do.
What is more, we both hoped more than anybody else that the culprits would not be found.
Fortunately, they were not.
Mike Harvey, Langley